July 25, 2017 Last Updated 8:31 am

Story about Texas newspaper cartoonists goes from Facebook to the Post, then back to Texas

Morning Brief: The British press today led with the tragic story of Connie Yates and Chris Gard and their critically ill son, either good news judgement or mob mentality, readers will have to decide

This has the makings of a pretty important day. It started with the president waking early (or staying up late) to create another tweet storm, ranting about his attorney general in such a way as to make it clear he wants Jeff Sessions to resign. That’s not a bad idea, considering the way the AG is targeting asset confiscations and legal weed, but what follows would likely be the firing of the special counsel and a constitutional crisis.

Then there is the Senate, where the leadership wants to force a vote on… something to do with health care. No one knows what would be in the bill, and that doesn’t seem to bother many Republicans. I goal is to pass something. What something is less important.

More and more we here in the States live in a tabloid world thanks to the president and his antics. But I can’t imagine living in a country where the tabloids are the most popular newspapers. This morning every paper, including the broadsheets, featured the story of Connie Yates and Chris Gard and their critically ill son whose life support systems will be removed sometime today.

The story is a sad one, but one that will very quickly leave the front page and soon be forgotten by most readers — a sign to any non-tabloid editor that the importance of the story is being blown up by the media. Still, none of the papers in the UK could resist splashing across their front pages.

Tomorrow the papers will be back to Brexit.



In the past few years there has been growing concern about reductions, or the elimination, of the photography staff. Some newspapers have instructed their reporters to use their cellphones to take photographs, as no staff photographers will be available.

Amanda O’Donnell of The Statesman yesterday wrote about the fact that with the laying off of Nick Anderson there will now be no staff cartoonists at any Texas daily newspaper. O’Donnell was following up on a feature written for The Washington Post about the situation in Texas — one that featured a cartoon from Anderson.

That Post article was written after Anderson wrote about his fate on his Facebook page, which tells you a lot about how news is going to be delivered and discovered in the future.

Austin American-Statesman, Amanda O’Donnell:

Texas newspapers no longer employ any staff editorial cartoonists

After the Houston Chronicle laid off its Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist, Nick Anderson, last week, a Washington Post piece made note that despite being “the second largest state in the union — and the home of so many historically colorful political voices,” Texas is now without a political cartoonist on staff at one of its newspapers.

The move follows similar position eliminations at the American-Statesman, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and the Dallas Morning News.

After Anderson’s departure, the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists released a statement calling the move a “short-term cost cutting maneuver, and saying Texas has no on-staff cartoonists to “provide local visual commentary and hold the state government accountable to its citizens.”

The Washington Post, Michael Cavna:

Texas now has zero staff political cartoonists, as Houston Chronicle fires Pulitzer winner

Nick Anderson, the veteran Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist for the Hearst-owned Houston Chronicle, got word last week that his position had been eliminated.

Which raises the question: Why part ways with one of your most prominent political voices?

“The odds caught up with me,” Anderson wrote last week on Facebook, speaking to the decades-long thinning out of America’s staff-cartooning ranks. “Ironically, thanks to social media, my cartoons are seen more widely than ever.”

“While the Internet and social media help spread my work widely, they also have made it harder for anyone in the news business to make a living,” Anderson said in his post. “I was able to drive significant traffic to my employer’s website at times, but not on the same scale as the Facebook traffic. And traffic alone isn’t enough anymore. Newspapers are moving to a subscriber/paywall model.

“Unfortunately, the powers that be decided a full-time cartoonist was not going to be a part of that model.”



Speaking of the WaPo…

The president decided to go after the DC paper this morning, attacking the paper as being owned by Amazon, and referring to its tax-free status. Of course, Amazon now does collect sales taxes, so the president was wrong about that detail. Oh, and Amazon doesn’t own the paper, it is owned by Jeff Bezos separate from the online retail company.

The cause of the tweets was apparently that the Post had written that US policy had changed in Syria in regard to supplying rebels fighting the Assad regime. This, in turn, caused several senators to lament any change in policy, likely complicating the president’s attempts to secure votes for his health care agenda.

The question remains, however, whether the Post story was correct. It appears to have been, and the president is furious simply because the policy change had come to light. And once again the president has reacted not to the original story in the Post, but to a segment on Fox News.

Also, like the story above, this one ends up in print after starting life on social media. It’s the new circle of life.

New York Daily News, Nicole Hensley:

Trump slams reports on ‘dangerous and wasteful’ CIA program to arm, train Syrian rebels

President Trump seemingly acknowledged a covert CIA program that armed and trained some Syrian rebels while railing against the Washington Post’s coverage on the matter.

After returning from his National Scouts Jamboree pep talk Monday night, Trump took exception to the Post’s coverage that the White House was ending its secret mission to train moderate factions in Syria…

…It’s unclear what prompted Trump’s outrage five days after the story although the tweet storm did follow a Tucker Carlson segment on Fox News that referenced the July 19 report. The D.C.-based paper published another story Monday night stating that Russia is central to the Trump administration’s strategy in Syria.

The Washington Times, Jacob Wirtschafter and Asaad Hann:

Syrian rebels fear Bashar Assad benefits from Trump-Putin truce

The opposition’s concerns have only heightened with reports late last week that Mr. Trump is ending a troubled covert program begun under President Obama of support for armed rebel groups fighting Mr. Assad, a move long sought by Mr. Assad and Mr. Putin.

For those on the ground in Syria, the stability of the cease-fire is more than an exercise in international geopolitics. Lives are at stake, and fears are rising that Mr. Assad and his allies, especially Iran, will use the respite to cement and extend their control.

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